Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04) today responded to news of a $4.5 billion settlement between BP and the U.S. government for criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The explosion took eleven lives -- among them four Mississippians -- and resulted in hundreds of millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and onto Gulf Coast beaches. BP pled guilty to 14 criminal charges in the settlement that imposes the largest amount of criminal penalties arising from one case in the history of the United States.
"The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill was a disaster of historic proportions," Palazzo stated. "We are still learning about the damaging, long-term effects this tragic event had on the Gulf Coast states. A historic disaster demands historic settlements. I am pleased to see that the involved parties have arrived at a criminal settlement. It is crucial now that they also bring a swift and fair resolution to outstanding civil penalties as outlined by Congress in the RESTORE Act."
Palazzo is an original cosponsor of the RESTORE Act which Congress passed in June and the president signed in July of this year. It dictates that 80 percent of Clean Water Act (CWA) fines be returned to the states affected as part of a government settlement involving civil penalties. Recently, Palazzo joined a group of Gulf Coast legislators in a letter to the Department of Justice expressing lawmakers' concerns over reports that potential settlements might disproportionately reduce the civil penalties applied under the CWA in comparison to other penalties.